NCPCR asks Odisha Govt to reduce weight of school bags
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the state government to provide lockers to children in state-run schools and take up several other measures to reduce weight of school bags. Earlier CBSE has prescribed a series of guidelines for its affiliated schools to reduce weight of school bags.
"Several studies have revealed the adverse effects of heavy school bags that children have to carry every day to school. NCPCR is also receiving representation of parents regarding the matter of heavy bags," reads the letter from NCPCR to the state government.
NCPCR has referred to a study conducted by ASSOCHAM in September this year that revealed about 68% of school children especially between 7-13 years of age, face the risk of backaches and other related problems due to heavy loads of school bags. The weight of their bags weighs between 40-45 per cent of the body weight of the kids. The survey further added that the school bags include art kit, skates, taekwondo equipment, a swim bag, cricket kit every alternate day leading to serious spinal damage and irreversible back problems.
The rights body for children recommended a series of steps like to ensure the weight of school bag is not more than 10 % of the weight of the child. Children in pre-primary classes should not carry any book or notebook to the school.
The government should conduct short term awareness and training programmes to bring effective change, sensitisation and awareness among principals, teachers and parents, the commission pointed out.
The schools should also issue guidelines for all students to carry books as per the timetable and ask teachers to pre-inform students about the books and notebook to be carried on a particular day. "Appropriate action should be taken against any school not following the guidelines," NCPCR letter read.
Project director of Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) Mahendra Kumar Mallick said, to reduce the weight children may be asked not to carry their bags to home. "It is not practically possible to provide lockers to 65 lakh students in around 53,000 primary schools. We would ask them to keep their bags in schools. It is the duty of parents to help kids in arranging their time tables."
A large number of children these days complain neck and shoulder pains, said paediatrician. "For the growing spine of children heavy load of bags put so much of pressure which may lead to musculoskeletal problems. The complaints of kids on any pack pain should not be taken lightly as it may lead to serious problem like kyphosis or lumbago or slipped disc," said paediatrician Dr S S Mohapatra.